The Native Pastors Gathering 2020


Feed My Sheep

Native Pastors Gathering 2020

Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center

Florence, MS

October 12-15, 2020


The Kingdom of God is advancing in Indian Country, but with the highest rates of suicide, domestic and sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, and poverty in the country, the battles are hard-won and relentless.

Native American/First Nations pastors need rest, refreshment, reflection, encouragement, and solid biblical and theological training to be able to serve the sheep entrusted to their care. Recognizing this need, MTW is hosting the Native Pastors Gathering 2020 in collaboration with Thirdmill, CHIEF, and Sacred Road Ministries.

Our theme and title of this event is Feed My Sheep, calling attention to Jesus’ command to Peter to feed the flock of God in John 21:17. But for so many Native pastors, lack of time and resources combined with the tyranny of the urgent, adversely prohibit adequate attention to the study and application of Scripture.

Shepherds feed the sheep, but who feeds the shepherds? For three days, Native pastors and their wives from the U.S. and Canada will gather at the Twin Lakes Conference Center in Florence, MS, to receive rest, refreshment, and resources to better feed their flocks.

We are offering an all-expense paid retreat experience, including transportation costs for those who cannot afford the expense. Please consider supporting this important event.

To give by mail, make checks are payable to:

Mission to the World

P.O. Box 744165

Atlanta, GA 30374-4165

Ref: Native Pastors Gathering #P-0267

To give online: https://www.mtw.org/projects/imna-native-pastors-gathering-2020

To learn more, email Patrick Lennox, plennox@thirdmill.org

IMnA Native Pastors Gathering 2020 Flyer

Peace

Peace

Advent is upon us. It is a season to look back to the time when our King first touched down and pitched His tent in enemy territory (John 1:14). It is amazing how our heavenly Father chose to first reveal the Word Incarnate to the poor and despised of that culture — the shepherds. But isn’t it just like God to do that? First, it is only fitting that our Shepherd would be revealed to the shepherds of Israel — a nation born from a family of shepherds. It is also a fitting picture because all of us in our natural fallen state are poor and worthy of being despised. Christmas serves as a reminder to us of our desperate need for a Savior. 

Sometime later, as it was revealed that Emmanuel, David’s greater Son, had already been born, King Herod ordered His assassination. But that is not surprising. Israel’s first king, Saul, attempted to kill David — a shepherd king upon whose throne Jesus forever reigns (This is a good time to read 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 110). 

Let us remember that we are in a war between the Seed of the woman and the serpent. Although the victory is ours, we still have many battles to endure. But the battles that concern me this time of year are not  the standard “culture-war” battles like whether a certain municipality will allow a manger scene in front of city hall, or whether people prefer to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” We should expect the world to be the world, just as it was when Jesus was born. 

My biggest concern this time of year is what will potentially happen in the next couple days as we gather with family and friends: discord, anxiety, unreasonably high expectations, feelings of loss, disappointment, and a host of other things. These are the “gifts” of the serpent, and we are too quick to open them. They are antithetical to the meaning of Advent. We get so distracted by the world “out there” and complaining about the decadence of our culture, we fail to recognize the serpents tricks, and in-turn, we become the disturbers of the peace. How sad it is when we strive to celebrate the Advent of the Prince of Peace, we lose sight of one of the most important gifts Jesus came to give — Peace (John 14:27-29, cf. Rom 5). 

Many of us have already fallen victim to the trickery of the serpent this Advent season, but that is exactly why we need a Savior. And we have one! The Prince of Peace stands ever-ready to restore peace in our lives at every turn. 

From all of us in the Lennox house, have a Peaceful Christmas!

Patrick and Regina

 


Patrick & Regina Lennox  #14241
Phone: (407) 416-1482
Email: lennoxletters@gmail.com
Blog: www.lennoxletters.com
Skype: lennoxclan5
Facebook: Facebook.com/patrick.r.lennox
Twitter: @PatrickLennox
Instagram: /Patrick_LennoxLetters
#PrayForNativeAmerica

Occom Discovery Center

“Discover the God who is and your place in his  kingdom”

Occom Discovery Center is a discipleship center for Native American and First Nations Christians to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The approach is different than traditional Bible colleges or ministry training centers. ODC is not a diploma/degree-granting institution. Learning, developing, and growing are essential for discipleship, letter grades are not.

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Occom Discovery Center is named in honor of Rev. Samson Occom (Mohegan, 1723-1792). Rev. Occom was the first Native American ordained Presbyterian minister. One of his driving desires was to give the gospel to Native people and provide them with education that would enable them to live in and thrive in their rapidly changing world. He taught at the Moor’s Charity School for Native Americans in Lebonon, CT. Later the school was moved to New Hampshire and became Dartmouth College, which did — for a short time — provide higher education to Native people, only without Samson Occom. Although there are some very sad elements and disappointments in Occom’s story, we find great inspiration in his commitment to the kingdom and Native people.

Discovering the God Who Is . . .

As the name implies, ODC aims towards discovery. Above all, we seek to discover the glories of the Triune God who is as he has revealed himself in the Holy Scriptures. In light of that revelation, we seek to discover our place in his kingdom. God has gifted each and every believer. ODC seeks to help Native American/First Nations disciples of Christ discover their gifts and foster a vision to engage them in the kingdom. In this regard, ODC is a place to begin and/or continue to discover their calling in this world.

The means by which we seek to achieve those ends are multifaceted. Regarding our pursuit of God, we are firmly committed to the ordinary means of grace revealed in Scripture, e.g. reading Scripture, preaching, teaching, prayer, singing, and sacraments. Students will attend a healthy, Christ-centered church.

. . . and Your Place in His Kingdom

Life at ODC may seem monastic in style. That is, disciples are expected to work, follow daily routines, and participate in community life on the campus, as well as seek times of solitude for biblical meditation. The key difference between the historic monastic movement (or at least caricatures of it) and ODC is that we seek to prepare students to go and engage in the world around them. By virtue of that, ODC seeks to be merely a momentary — but life-changing — chapter in the student’s unfolding story.

A bedrock conviction at ODC is that we as creatures created in the image of our Creator were created to create. ODC is a community that dares God’s people to dream. We are seeking those who are visionaries, makers, thinkers, tinkerers doers, happen-makers, craftsmen, artists, builders, and anyone else who wants to dare to dream. All those who are timid, hurt, scared, curious, and most of all, willing to be shaped by the hands of the Potter, are encouraged to join us.

ODC seeks to cultivate a Christian worldview that is both taught and caught, recognizing that changed lives are more influenced by the latter in community. Using multiple methods, ODC seeks to foster twenty-four key areas (displayed below in complementary pairs) in which disciples of Christ are encouraged to continue and cultivate long after their time at ODC.

Occom Discovery Center is a place to discover:

  1. Common Grace/Redeeming Grace
  2. Work/Sabbath
  3. Word/Deed
  4. Community/Solitude
  5. Unity/Diversity
  6. Spiritual Gifts/Natural Talents
  7. Risk/Safety
  8. Giving/Receiving
  9. Listening/Expressing
  10. Personal Identity/Corporate Identity
  11. Increasing/Decreasing
  12. The God who is and your place in his Kingdom

Sounds Great! So where is it?

Right now ODC is still only a dream, but it has been dream that began many years ago. There is no campus, no students, and no staff yet, but the need is an ever-present reality. After serving with various churches and educational ministries, serving in various capacities in multiple locations in Native America for the last thirteen years, we believe that the Lord has prepared us for this very thing. We have presented our proposal to our overseers and peers and received a green light to move forward. This is our long-haul ministry focus.

We are in the dreaming-out-loud phase — trying to find others who can catch the vision and dream with us. Right now we are praying for a location. We have some essential criteria along with a list of preferences. We need land. The Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills — and he owns the hills too! So we are asking the Lord to move upon someone with property to offer for use in the kingdom. Are you that someone, or do you know someone? Has the Lord blessed you with the means to purchase the property? We would love to talk with you. We have our vision document available upon request.

Take some action steps right now:

  • Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He will bring this dream into reality.
  • Forward this post to someone you know who may be interested in hearing more about the Occom Discovery Center.
  • Tell your pastors or missions committee about ODC. Invite us to your church whether in person or via Skype or ZOOM or phone interview.

Never underestimate your influence and effect in the kingdom. Give us a call.

All for the Kingdom!

Patrick and Regina Lennox

MTW Missionaries to Native America

Fall Newsletter 2019

Dear team members and prayer supporters,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our great God and Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord is still on the throne, and he is manifesting his glory beyond our comprehension.

You’re Invited!


(Above: Arlene Joseph feeding 100 Indians with only fifty pieces of fry bread. According to Thomas Builds-the-Fire, “It was a miracle.” Smoke Signals, 1998)

You are all invited to a special gathering for our supporters and friends. We hope to see as many of you as possible. Yes, we know that the clear majority of you cannot make it due to your location, but for all those in the Orlando area, please come and join us for dinner…and bring a friend, too.

It will be a time of reconnecting with you and sharing what the Lord is doing with us and how you can help. As we have indicated in our newsletters, there are a number of projects we have in the works. We hope to share our vision and answer any questions you may have.

Please join us, whatever your support status is with us. Some of you were forced to stop your financial support due to difficult times. Please don’t let that stop you from joining us. Your encouragement and prayers mean so much to us.

There is no cost for you to attend. Please consider inviting a friend or two. Let them hear what the Lord is doing in Native America.

We will be sending an Evite out soon as well as something in the mail, so please keep an eye out for that. You may reply to this email to let us know you plan on attending.

Location: Orangewood Presbyterian Church, 1300 Maitland Blvd, Maitland, FL 32751
Date: Friday, November 1, 2019
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

We really hope to see you there. It’ll be a great encouragement to us.


 

Minor Setback?

I (Patrick) was scheduled to teach a class at the Mokahum Ministry Center beginning September 16th. By God’s good providence, I was unable to go. I had acute appendicitis, which required emergency surgery September 13th. After trying to cope with the pain for nearly two weeks, Regina finally put her foot down and brought me back to the ER (they wrongly diagnosed me earlier in the week). My plan was to ignore the pain a bit longer so I could be on a plane to Minnesota the next day to teach my class. I will spare you the gory details, suffice to say that the appendix actually ruptured, but the Lord saved me from real dangerous situation.

I thank the Lord for my wife. The Lord didn’t call me to be a martyr in this way. It may seem like a set back, but in God’s providence, it is a kingdom advancement in some mysterious way. I am doing fine and quite able to continue working, such as writing newsletters and planning dinners.


What’s on the Calendar?

November 1– Supporter Dinner in the Orlando area– Consider yourself invited. If you would like to attend, please let us know ASAP.

July 2020 – United in Christ 2020 Conference, representing Third Millennium, Bemidji, MN

October 2020 – Native Pastors’ Conference, Jackson, MS


Pray for us

1. Giving is down — Yes, it is still down. But with this new endeavor, we will need to increase our budget. Please pray as we seek the Lord on what steps to take to increase our pledged support.

2.  Pray for wisdom, patience, courage, and perseverance. There always seems there is too much to do, but the Lord loves to show his power in our weakness. There is much to do. We need wisdom to prioritize and keep a good calendar.

3. Pray for our family. Life has been a whirlwind with activity. Our oldest is still in Bemidji, MN at BSU. We miss him.

Ministry Prayers

Native Pastor’s Retreat 2020 – We applied for special funds for this project. Please pray those who make those decisions will see the value of this event and supply us with the funds necessary to make it happen. We will also have a special account opened up for this event. Once it is open, we will let you know how you can contribute to this important ministry outreach.

How can we pray for you?

We would be honored to pray for you. Please let us know how we can pray.


All for the Kingdom!

Patrick & Regina

Patrick & Regina Lennox  #14241
Phone: (407) 416-1482
Email: lennoxletters@gmail.com
Blog: www.lennoxletters.com
Skype: lennoxclan5
Facebook: Facebook.com/patrick.r.lennox
Twitter: @PatrickLennox
Instagram: /Patrick_LennoxLetters
#PrayForNativeAmerica

How Do You Define Spiritual Abuse? And 29 other questions for shepherds of the church to ask themselves

Spiritual abuse is a topic that is getting more attention these days. Perhaps in some people’s minds, that term is reserved for religious cults and their leaders. Perhaps in your mind, you think that it is a new phenomenon that is sweeping through the church as a result of the spirit of our age. This new, Millennial, victim-mentality is just a worldy thing that the devil is using to disgrace and divide the church. It’s just part of the #MeToo movement, you might say. I hope not.

Below is a list of thirty questions for the shepherds of the church of Jesus Christ to ask themselves personally when they look in the mirror and corporately as they look at each other. Every question deserves an answer. You deserve an answer. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, deserves an answer.

I am by no-means an expert on the subject, but I have some insight. Without going into a lot of sordid details, I can tell you that I have seen enough of it first hand to know what it is. I have studied the matter at great length, and I know enough people who have been victims of it.

Fear is the dominant and controlling virtue of an abusive pastor’s leadership philosophy, coupled with charm and self-importance. The three key words — whether declared or implied — to remember when dealing with a spiritually abusive pastor are: Obey. Obey. Obey.

Warning signs of an abusive pastor who isolates his prey would be statements like:

“Never remind of what I’ve said.” 

“Don’t tell anybody I said that. I will deny it.”

“If you talk, it will be bad for you. It won’t be bad for the church. It will be bad for you. Do you understand?

That list could go on for miles, but these are just few that I have personally heard.

There are plenty of resources out there to give you a better understanding of the topic. For brevity sake, I offer two resources to start with. The first is a podcast from Mortification of Spin titled Overstepping Authority. The second is a book titled, Let Us Prey: The Plague of Narcissist Pastors and What We Can Do About It, by Glen Ball, Darrel Puls and Steven J. Sandage.

Jesus had serious warnings and woes for the leaders in His day. (Matt 23:13-32) Peter tells us that “Judgment begins in the house of the Lord.” (1 Pet 4:17), and those “who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1).

Everyone reading this is encouraged to copy and tailor these questions for use in your church. Give a copy to your pastor and elders, and require answers.  If they don’t want to answer the questions, then find a new church.

  1. Do we believe that spiritual/pastoral abuse is a real thing?

 

  1. How does the [CHURCH NAME] session define spiritual/pastoral abuse?

 

  1. If there were spiritual/pastoral abuse at [CHURCH NAME], how would the victim(s) know how to report that?

 

  1. When we hear reports of abuse, do any of us on the session instinctively take a defensive posture towards those who come forward?

 

  1. Are the alleged victims required to exercise Matthew 18 with their alleged abuser before going to the session? If yes, what is the rationale? Would such a requirement be placed on women (or men) who were sexually abused?

 

  1. What are the steps to reporting spiritual/pastoral abuse?

 

  1. Does any member of [CHURCH NAME] know those steps?

 

  1. Is there some kind of published BCO for parishioners to refer to for guidance?

 

  1. If yes, do [church name] members know where to obtain a copy in print or digitally online?

 

  1. For the shepherds, what are the steps with handling reports of abuse?

 

  1. What are the steps for investigating abuse?

 

  1. For churches who have ministers serving “out-of-bounds” from their presbytery, how will [CHURCH NAME] session handle abuse cases involving [DENOMINATION] ministers who have their own procedures for handling abuse?

 

  1. Will the session immediately report the allegations to the denomination of the ministers serving out-of-bounds?

 

  1. If there were any future cases of spiritual/pastoral abuse, will [CHURCH NAME] contact the [PRESBYTERY] if it involves a [DENOMINATION NAME] minister, or does [CHURCH NAME] believe she has the right to shield [DENOMINATION NAME] ministers from oversight of their own denomination?

 

  1. Will the [CHURCH NAME] session conduct their own investigation, or leave it completely in the hands of the [PRESBYTERY NAME]?

 

  1. Is the opinion of the [CHURCH NAME] session that it is improper for [CHURCH NAME] members and/or elders to report abuse regarding [NAME OF MINISTER SERVING OUT-OF-BOUNDS] to their presbytery?

 

  1. Can a victim come forward truly feeling safe and assured that the session takes cases of spiritual/pastoral abuse seriously?

 

  1. Will our track record prove that?

 

  1. Will any member of the session accuse the alleged victim of causing trouble?

 

  1. Will any member of the session label any alleged victims as “Millennial cry-babies” who are part of the #MeToo movement?

 

  1. Will he/she/they be accused of being messengers or instruments of Satan?

 

  1. Can members of [CHURCH NAME] or attendees have full confidence that the session will do all it can to protect the sheep from abusive shepherds and not the other way around?

 

  1. Is the session truly prepared to deal swiftly and aggressively with a shepherd no matter what the celebrity status of the shepherd?

 

  1. Can the session truly say that it will discipline or even defrock a shepherd if that shepherd is in any way abusive to the sheep, no matter the perceived fame and draw-power that shepherd may have at [CHURCH NAME]?

 

  1. In short, will the [CHURCH NAME] session allow celebrity status to protect a shepherd at the expense of holiness and righteousness?

 

  1. Is Jesus, our Good Shepherd, jealous to protect the legacy of [FAMOUS PREACHER/CHURCH] or is He jealous to protect His sheep from abuse at the hands of under-shepherds no matter what the PR implications may be?

 

  1. In light of victims who have already come forth, has [CHURCH NAME] session asked the question, “Is there anyone else in the congregation who is afraid to come forth?”

 

  1. Would the [CHURCH NAME] session consider an internal investigation to find out if there are other victims of pastoral abuse? If not, then why?

 

  1. If yes, would third-party ministries such as Peacemakers, Blessing Point Ministries, and the like to be called upon to investigate to ensure public trust?

 

  1. Regarding past, current, and possibly other cases, can each member of the [CHURCH NAME] session stand before the Good Shepherd and expect to hear the benediction, “Well done thou good and faithful servant”?

 

Yes, it is long list, but I think each question is deserving of an answer. If churches have yet to create safeguards and policies concerning spiritual/pastoral abuse, now would be a time to start.

 

 

Lennox Letters: Summer 2019 – PCA General Assembly Edition

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Painting of Chief Rain in the Face by brother and friend, Mark Little Elk (Lakota)

Dear Jesus Follower,

We are Patrick and Regina Lennox – MTW missionaries to Native America. We met at a Bible college in 1995. Together we have been in ministry for over twenty years. I (Patrick) am a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS Orlando, M.Div, 2014). From 2004 – 2014, I served at a Reformed church in Sanford, Florida as the director of education, youth, and local missions. Eight of those years, Regina and I led short-term teams to serve among the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, NC. From 2017 – 2019, we served at the Mokahum Ministry Center on the Leech Lake Reservation near Bemidji, MN, working with fellow Native brothers making disciples and training leaders in Indian Country. We are members of our sending church, Orangewood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Maitland, FL.

Big Story!

IMG_20190627_132853_866 (1)It’s official. We are partnering with Third Millennium Ministries to bring biblical education, for the – Native American – world, for free. It has been a long time coming, but the Lord has brought it to pass. We are very thankful for this new chapter of outreach. Please continue reading to learn more about our new ministry journey and how you can be a part of it. (You can read about how it all began in Behind the Scenes of Providence).

 


To be clear, we are still MTW missionaries. All support continues through MTW. 


The Need

Corn

Corn we grew at the Mokahum Ministry Center in Minnesota.

To give perspective, there are currently 573 federally recognized Native tribes in the U.S. plus the many other yet-to-be recognized, plus the tribes with state recognition. Add to that the 634 First Nations recognized by Canada, and you begin to understand that the indigenous people of North America are a diverse people. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, there are 5.2 million Native people and 1.4 million in Canada. That is 6.6 million Native image-bearers of God from the more than 1,200 federally recognized people groups with distinct cultures, languages, histories, present realities and futures. The people are diverse. The fields are ready. The Lord of the Harvest bids us go and reap the harvest.

 

Churches need planting · Pastors need training · Believers need discipling

Sound familiar? Yes, these are perennial needs that will exist throughout the world until Jesus returns. But in the corner of the world where the Lord has burdened us, the challenges are greater than in non-Native communities. Native Christians need well-trained Native pastors. We have personally lived with the fallout of what happens when untrained pastors do not properly handle the Word of Truth. The people of God suffer from lack of biblical discipleship. Jesus deserves more than that. Let’s make sure He gets what He paid for.

Although statistics are hard to come by, the consensus among Native leaders and our experience on the field shows that most Native pastors are bi-vocational, and many of those lack proper biblical and theological training. It is also recognized that many of those Native pastors desire more biblical and theological training, yet are unable to leave their work, families, and churches to get it. That is where we come in.

Our Response

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Dear friends, Craig and LaDonna Smith of Tribal Rescue Ministries

By God’s good providence, we have been able to meet and work with many Native Christian leaders and laity over the years. We plan to continue to build on those relationships and establish new ones that we may gain inroads to find those pastors and prospective leaders who want biblical and theological training.

First, we will establish study cohorts of three or four men each to engage in a class utilizing Third Mill curriculum. We already have the core of a cohort ready to begin studying using Third Mill’s series The Apostle’s Creed. Pray as we begin in August.

 

Leo Czarina Regina

Leo Bird (Cherokee, Mokahum Ministry Center), Czarina (Ojibwe, MMC student), Regina.

To build up these cohorts will require a lot of travel. It is our goal to make Third Mill curriculum available on every one of the 325 U.S. Native reservations and surrounding communities, as well as Canadian reserves and communities. This is too much for us. Obviously, we’ll need help. But we serve a big God who can do abundantly more than we could ever ask or do. Dream with us as we face this monumental task.

During our time at Mokahum, we used Third Mill curriculum with our students. They were deeply moved by what they learned and appreciated the clarity and depth of the material. We are convinced that Third Mill provides the best biblical and theological curriculum for distance learning and will greatly grow the church of Jesus Christ among the various tribes, tongues, and nations in North America.

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Rev. Samson Occom (Mohegan, the first ordained Native American Presbyterian minister)

Secondly, for many years we have had a deep desire to establish a study center for Native disciples not unlike Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri model. We believe a discipleship center to “Discover the God who is and your place in his kingdom” would meet a pressing need in Native America. The campus would serve both Native laity looking for more intentional discipleship unavailable to them in their present setting and for those Third Mill students who are able to attend for short periods of time. Space will not allow for us to elaborate on all that we envision, but please pray and track with us to see if the Lord establishes the Samson Occom Institute for Biblical and Theological Studies and the Occom Discovery Center.

Let’s keep talking.

 

Our Challenge to You

You have made it to page three. You have moved from mere curiosity to interest in what the Lord is doing in Native America. We are asking that you would move beyond momentary interest to continual prayer. We ask that you beseech the Lord and ask him if he wants you to join us for the long haul.

We need a team of praying and supporting partners.

We need to raise additional support. By nature of our ministry, our travel costs will increase as well as other ministry costs.

Please consider joining our support team. Pledged giving is most helpful as we plan for the future. But all gifts are helpful and appreciated.

Please help us spread the word about what the Lord is doing in Native America.

Please pass this newsletter along to someone on your church’s mission committee.

Please pray for us as we strive to serve in Native America, and follow us on our journey at www.LennoxLetters.com.

If you would like to partner with us, there are multiple ways to do that.

Give us a call. Let’s talk about it.

Sign up for our newsletter. Text us your contact info and we will sign you up.

For His Kingdom,

 

Patrick & Regina Lennox #14241

MTW Missionaries to Native America

(p) 407.416.1482

(blog) http://www.lennoxletters.com

(e) lennoxletters@gmail.com

(t) @patricklennox

(fb) /Patrick.r.lennox

(Instagram) /patrick_lennoxletters

Skype: LennoxClan5

 

[This post is a revised edition of a hard-copy newsletter in June 2019 for distribution at the PCA General Assembly]

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes of Providence: Tracing the Hand of God from Carriage Lane’s Missions Conference All the Way to Indian Country

In 2016 we were invited to participate at the Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church’s (Peachtree City, GA) week-long missions conference. Our story with Carriage Lane actually goes back to our Cherokee days when we met Norm Dunkin and all the great folks who ministered within the Qualla Boundary every summer.

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Here we are with Dr. Richard Pratt and Rob Griffith of Third Millennium Ministries. Dr. Pratt was the keynote speaker at the Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church’s annual missions conference.

During our visit last year, I met up with fellow RTS seminarian, Rob Griffith, of Third Millennium Ministries. Although I knew of Third Mill’s ministry, I didn’t really understand that their materials were really for everyone, not just poor pastors in remote parts of the world. Once Rob explained to me all the ministry is about, the wheels in my head (both of them) quickly started turning. I thought immediately of the mission field I serve – the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, the Native American/Alaska Native/First Nations peoples of North America. Although my wife and I are called to a discipleship/leadership school located in Minnesota, we got excited at the possibility of Third Mill’s materials reaching the remotest places in Indian Country.

So Rob introduced me to Richard Pratt after the Saturday men’s breakfast. I told Richard how much I loved his approach to ministry and how I intend on take advantage of Third Mill as much as I could for Native America. I suggested that he make a video personally inviting Native American/First Nations peoples to participate in Third Mill materials. But I told him that his name was actually a liability in Indian Country. It was probably one of the most notorious names in Indian Country, second only to Custer. Keep reading…

Carlisle_pupilsBriefly, there was a U.S. military man named Richard H. Pratt, who started the first government Indian boarding school in Carlisle, PA, which began a movement of off-reservation schools for Indian children where children were taken from their family and communities to be subjected to civilization of the savage under the doctrine of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” Christianity and the “white man’s ways” were forced upon the Native children. Space will not allow to list the suffering that took place in those schools. This dark era in U.S. history (1879 – 1979) inflicted untold pain on our Native neighbors still felt in Indian Country today.

Because is this history, there are hurdles to overcome with our first neighbors. Unlike the Richard Pratt of old, this Richard Pratt’s approach to education is the exact opposite – teach the Bible in the context of the people where they live without imposing cultural standards upon Christ’s disciples. Richard thought it was a good idea, so he told me to write a script and he will create a video . . . That was an Ebenezer moment for us.

Back at Home

Third Mill behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

As soon as I could, I got to work on the script. I wrote up a draft and ran it by two Christian leaders in Indian Country to review it. With their blessing, I gave it to Third Mill for Richard to record. By late spring, the video was completed. We were invited to be there for the recording. . . Once it was recorded, they asked us what we would like to see done with the video. . . Not knowing how exactly to get this video invitation out there, I posted it on our blog, LennoxLetters.com.

Native America and General Assembly 2016

PrattCarrReginaHuronPatrickThen it hit us. MTW was going to highlight their work among Native American and First Nations peoples at the MTW luncheon at our General Assembly. Their guest speaker was going to be Huron Clause (Mohawk, Kiowa) of CHIEF Ministries – a long-time friend of MTW. We thought that it would be great if they showed the video Richard made a few months earlier, so Regina urged me to make some phone calls to the home office to see if this could work. Anxiously I waited for the answer, and by God’s good providence, it was a done deal. . . I was able to introduce Richard and Huron to each other. After the lunch, Richard had invited Huron to visit Third Mill’s home office if ever he was in Florida.

The Big Day

The following October, Huron took Richard up on that invitation. Through my meddling and God’s providence, Regina and I were able to be a couple of flies on the wall during that visit. It was a great meeting between these two important ministries . . .

HuronPrattWe are blessed to have a small role in all that God is doing with these various ministries. I think how Carriage Lane made a long-term commitment for a short-term project with Mission to the World in Cherokee. From there, we met Norm and the gang, which led us to Carriage Lane, where we ultimately met Richard Pratt through a fellow RTS seminarian, Rob Griffith. It took all that for us to meet a man who is ten miles down the road from our house. What will the Lord do with that? We’ll keep you posted.

third-mill-and-chief

Regina, Patric, Huron Claus (CHIEF Ministries), Richard Pratt (Third Millennium Ministries)

 

(The above article is an abridged version of an article in Lennox Letters originally written for Carriage Lane Presbyterian Church in Peachtree City, GA.)